A recent Wall Street Journal article mentioned that heritage grains are growing in popularity. These ancient grains tend to have a smaller environmental impact than modern plants, contain a broader spectrum of nutrients, and have a wide variety of flavors and textures. Even restaurants have recognized the benefits of heritage grains.

One particularly wonderful grain is millet. People have been eating millet for millennia. Chinese records indicate that it was a staple crop as early as 2000 BCE. Today, most Americans only recognize millet as the main ingredient in bird seed, but it’s also a delicious, healthy, ecologically friendly alternative to wheat, rice and corn.

Millet is gluten-free and nutrient-rich. It’s an excellent source of fiber, protein, niacin, folate, and thiamin. Millet contains 48.7 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids in every serving and has high levels of magnesium and manganese. Because millet is gluten-free, it can be great for people with food allergies. Different people have different food allergies, and they should carefully consider if millet or another grain will be a valuable addition to their diet.

It’s easy to add millet to your healthy diet. It cooks just like rice, and can make an excellent porridge, especially if you add dried fruit and honey. In addition, with olive oil, cheese and vegetables, millet makes an excellent substitute for couscous. Ground millet has a texture similar to that of corn flour, and is a great choice for a healthy alternative to corn bread. Best of all, organically grown millet is available in bulk at most health food stores or co-ops. If you add millet to your rotation of grains, you can improve your health and reduce your carbon footprint.

Lin Merage enjoys healthy, organic food as part of her eco-friendly lifestyle.